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Asiana crash: Video shows firefighters were aware of victim on runway

New video following the Asiana crash shows rescuers knew someone was on the ground before she was fatally run over.
January 15, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
Newly released footage from a firefighter's helmet camera following the Asiana Airlines plane crash shows that rescuers were aware someone was on the ground before she was fatally run over by a fire truck.

In the video, obtained by CBS News, the firefighter wearing the camera tells the fire truck driver there's a person in front of the vehicle. Also, a camera mounted on the fire truck shows a firefighter directing the truck away from 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan.

Fifteen minutes later, the video shows the same truck running her over. The helmet camera shows another truck driving over her minutes after that.

CBS says it obtained the video from a person close to Yuan's family.

It remains unknown exactly how Yuan got out of the plane after the crash, but the San Mateo County Coroner has confirmed that Yuan was killed by a fire truck. Interviews for an ongoing National Traffic Safety Board investigation found Yuan was covered with foam and struck twice.

The teen was one of three people who died when Flight 214 crash landed at San Francisco International Airport July 6, 2013. All were Chinese students; one died during the crash and another died later in the hospital. Yuan's family has since filed a wrongful death claim against the city.

"At least five firefighters knew of her presence before she was covered in foam, nobody examined her, nobody touched her, nobody protected her, moved her or did anything to take her out of harm's way and then they abandoned her there," said Anthony Tarricone, an attorney for Yuan's family.

This new video may be crucial to understanding what happened to Yuan. Officials say the girl's body was covered by foam at the time and could not be seen by the responding fire trucks. Authorities also said putting out the fire and rescuing victims added to the chaos.

According to documents released by the NTSB, firefighters told investigators they assumed the girl was dead and hurried on toward the damaged aircraft.

"This is not a matter of us being careless or callous," Assistant Deputy Chief Dale Carnes told the federal safety board last month. "It was the fact we were dealing with a very complex environment."

In all, 304 people survived after the airliner slammed into a seawall at the end of a runway during final approach for landing. The impact tore off the back of the aircraft, tossed out three flight attendants and their seats, and scattered pieces of the jet across the runway as it spun and skidded to a stop.

The San Francisco Fire Department released the following statement Wednesday: "The Fire Department has been fully cooperative with the NTSB from the onset of their investigation which, as you know, is ongoing. The outcome of the investigation is important to everyone concerned. To this measure, it is our responsibility to respect the integrity of the investigation and not compromise it in any way. We expect to see the full NTSB Investigative Report sometime next summer and will reserve making any statements until that time."

The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.


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